Gay Times Magazine - - TRAVEL - Words Wil­fred Brice

We ar­rive in Barcelona on a typ­i­cally mild late sum­mer day. This city never fails to im­press – a beau­ti­ful bal­ance of ur­ban in­ten­sity and year­round beach chill. We’re here to visit the open­ing of the lat­est of one of my favourite ho­tel brands. Ian Schrager’s ris­ing global in­flu­ence landed in Spain with the ar­rival of his new­est ven­ture in the grow­ing em­pire: The Barcelona EDI­TION. Of­ten a fre­quenter of the Lon­don EDI­TION in Soho, in Barcelona we’re stay­ing in the equiv­a­lent El Born district; the city’s cre­ative hub in the cen­tre of the famed Ci­u­tat Vella district - there’s clearly a theme run­ning through the lo­ca­tions of th­ese ho­tels.

Squeezed be­tween the wa­ters of the Mediter­ranean Sea and l’Eix­am­ple neigh­bour­hood – Barcelona’s renowned bou­tique shopping epi­cen­tre – the lo­ca­tion is the beat­ing heart of this city. Ad­ja­cent is the iconic Santa Ca­te­rina Mar­ket which we can see out of our cor­ner room. The EDI­TION brand has al­ways done one thing very well, ef­fort­less lux­ury. Lázaro Rosa-Vi­olán has de­signed the in­te­ri­ors with Shrager’s clas­sic wood pan­elled style that ties to­gether all th­ese ho­tels across the world. The staff are also re­laxed in clas­sic Span­ish ‘au fait’ style.

First im­pres­sions are pretty awe­some. You might think this is a 1970’s of­fice block con­ver­sion... be­cause it is. How­ever, the dou­ble-height lobby space dom­i­nated by a strik­ing, sap­phire blue chan­de­lier and the Sal­vador Dalí and An­toni Gaudí in­spired fur­ni­ture give the ho­tel an im­pres­sive but re­laxed wel­come.

The best part of the ho­tel has to be the punch room. Im­ported from the Lon­don EDI­TION, this bar, lo­cated on the first floor, may be a lit­tle hard to find at first. We spent no less that 20 min­utes search­ing for the en­trance and even­tu­ally came to a wall panel that sud­denly slid to the right. After the ini­tial shock that we’d had damaged part of this al­most brand new ho­tel, we stepped into a to­tally hid­den world of long drinks, punches and san­grias served from vin­tage sil­ver bowls.

We’ve never been one for the ‘se­cret bar’ con­cept - find­ing it a lit­tle cliché, es­pe­cially in lux­ury ho­tels, but this is how you do a hid­den joint the right way. There’s an ob­vi­ous link be­tween the drinks we’re be­ing served and the Castil­ian his­toric quar­ters we’re sit­ting in - a swirling mix­ture of colo­nial trade im­ports, new age spices and hard liquors.

Two la­dles of punch later, we were pretty past it, which prompted us back to our quar­ters over­look­ing the Santa Ca­te­rina Mar­ket. In short, The Barcelona EDI­TION de­liv­ers an in­no­va­tive travel ex­pe­ri­ence in Barcelona, bring­ing the new gen­er­a­tion of lux­ury and life­style to the city cen­tre with a strong fo­cus on sus­tain­abil­ity. The ho­tel per­fectly ex­em­pli­fies the easy lux­ury of the EDI­TION brand with gen­uine, per­sonal, un­com­pli­cated lev­els of ser­vice de­liv­ered by some pretty im­pas­sioned em­ploy­ees.

It’s well worth a stay for fre­quent visi­tors - the only thing to bear in mind, the price-point. This ho­tel doesn’t break the bank, but it is on the pricier side for Barcelona stays. So if your visit to this Euro­pean cul­tural cap­i­tal is for re­lax­ing mo­ments and ex­cep­tional hos­pi­tal­ity - start sav­ing those pen­nies. Per­son­ally, we wouldn’t want to stay any­where else.

Gay Times were guests of Marriott In­ter­na­tional for the open­ing of Barcelona EDI­TION but all views and opin­ion ex­pressed are our own.

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